AstraZeneca - Connections for Cardiovascular Health announces $239,000 grant to St. Mary’s Health Wagon

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program today announced a grant of $239,500 to St. Mary’s Health Wagon in support of the Appalachian Healthy Heart Initiative. This is the third consecutive year in which the Health Wagon has received a grant from the Foundation, totaling $545,562.

The Appalachian Healthy Heart Initiative works to improve quality of care through prevention, detection and treatment of heart disease and to reduce cardiovascular health disparities for those who are uninsured and under-insured in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia. The program does this through both primary and preventive care initiatives, outreach programs, health promotion activities and screenings, culturally appropriate education with a focus on risk factor reduction and engagement of the community through awareness.

After a second straight year of funding from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, the Appalachian Healthy Heart Initiative reported that in 2012 more than 4,810 patients were screened through the cardiovascular risk assessment. Of those, 519 were tracked longer term and over 50 percent experienced weight loss of 10 pounds or more.

“It has been a pleasure to implement the Appalachian Healthy Heart Initiative and help many individuals of southwest Virginia,” said Dr. Teresa Gardner, Executive Director, Health Wagon. “The Health Wagon is very thankful for the support AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation has provided during the duration of the project. We will continue to sustain the project on our own to help expand health care overall and cardiovascular awareness and treatment to the people of the Appalachians.”

The expanding infrastructure supported by past AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation funding will help the Health Wagon transition from a “project” to a national cardiovascular health model that can be replicated and developed. The goal of the program is to expand the innovative health care model currently providing services to the target population by providing a Family Nurse Practitioner and nurse case manager. Concurrently, the program will develop a regional consortium focused on cardiovascular disease that will share inherent strengths and resources to provide a sustained comprehensive model for Central Appalachia.

“Cardiovascular disease continues to be the nation’s No. 1 killer, which is why we must work to decrease the risks of this devastating disease," said James W. Blasetto, M.D., MPH, FACC chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. "The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation is proud to provide funding to innovative, grassroots programs like the St. Mary’s Health Wagon Appalachian Healthy Heart Initiative, which work to help prevent and control the effects of cardiovascular disease in their community."

The Connections for Cardiovascular Health program awards grants of $150,000 and up to US-based non-profit organizations that are doing innovative work in the field of cardiovascular health. This year, the Foundation has awarded more than $4.4 million in grants to 22 organizations. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded nearly $11 million across the United States to help improve cardiovascular health.

Organizations can learn more and apply online for a Foundation grant at Applications must be submitted online no later than 5 p.m. EST on Feb. 28, 2013.

About St. Mary’s Health Wagon

The Health Wagon is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization providing mobile health services to the medically underserved in Southwest Virginia since 1980. The Health Wagon’s mission is to provide compassionate, quality health care to the medically under-served in the mountains of Appalachia. The Health Wagon visits ten sites in six counties: Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, Wise, Scott, and Lee Counties to serve a severely medically underserved population. The Health Wagon currently has two mobile health units and two stationary clinics servicing Southwest Virginia.

About the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation

Established in 1993, the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation is a Delaware not-for-profit corporation and a 501(c)(3) entity organized for charitable purposes including to promote public awareness of healthcare issues, to promote public education of medical knowledge and to support or contribute to charitable and qualified exempt organizations consistent with its charitable purpose. Connections for Cardiovascular Health was launched in 2010 through a charitable contribution of $25 million from AstraZeneca.

Media Inquiries

AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation Media Line 302-885-2677
David Meade, St. Mary's Health Wagon 276-328-8850